THE fate of the controversial offshore wind farm which led Donald Trump to pull the plug on future investment in his luxury Scottish golf resort was plunged into uncertainty last night.
• Vattenfall puts 75% stake in European Offshore Wind Development Centre (EOWDC) up for sale
• Swedish firm cites ‘capital budget constraints’ for move
• Trump cancelled further development of Menie golf course estate over EOWDC
Speculation the project could end up “dead in the water” intensified when Swedish company Vattenfall – Europe’s sixth-largest generator of electricity – announced plans to put its 75 per cent stake in the venture up for sale.
The surprise announcement came only a day after test drilling had started to pave the way for the construction of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay.
The £230 million experimental development is spearheaded by Vattenfall, together with the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) and engineering company Technip Offshore Wind.
But the consortium yesterday announced new investors were being sought for the centre as a result of Vattenfall’s decision.
Last night, a jubilant Mr Trump, who has branded the wind farm a “monstrous eyesore”, said: “This is just a nice way of them bowing out gracefully. No investor would be stupid enough to go anywhere near this project because it will lose tens of millions each year.”
The offshore project is already facing a legal battle from Mr Trump who claims the offshore turbines will ruin the view from his nearby multi-million-pound golf course.
Last week, Vattenfall revealed its profits for the first quarter of the year had fallen to £831m – compared with £1.6 billion last year. The company had also announced in March that it is to axe 2,500 jobs across Europe as part of a cost-cutting drive.
A spokeswoman for the consortium said: “Vattenfall said it is confident it will secure new investment through a dilution of its shareholding in the company behind the project.”
But George Sorial, the executive vice-president and counsel to the Trump Organisation, said he hoped the sell-off of Vattenfall’s stake in the venture would leave the wind farm “dead in the water”.
Supporters of the scheme, however, played down concerns. Morag McCorkindale, chief operating officer at AREG, said: “We believe that attracting investment from the wider industry will make for an even more compelling proposition for Scotland.”
BACKGROUND: DONALD TRUMP VS EOWDC